Protests in Srinagar over Rajouri flag burning incident

Protests in Srinagar over Rajouri flag burning incident
  • JKLF, Er Rashid allege conspiracy against Muslims
  • Rajouri town under curfew on Wednesday as well

Iqbal Kirmani
SRINAGAR: A day after Jammu erupted against the burning of a flag with Islamic inscriptions by Hindutva groups, police had a tough day after back-to-back protests were staged in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk.
The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front staged a protest demonstration from Abi Guzar area against what they called ‘state sponsored disruption tactics’ against the Muslims of Jammu and marched towards Lal Chowk. “Muslims in Jammu are again being targeted by state-backed organisations who nurse hatred against them. Earlier, the issue of West Pakistan Refugees was created and now religious sentiments are being targeted,” said the protesting JKLF activists.
The protestors were lead by senior JKLF member Noor Mohammad Kalwal, who was later arrested by the police along with around a dozen of his activists as they tried to march towards the centre of Lal Chowk. Protestors accused the police of shielding the people who instigated emotions by burning a flag with Islamic inscriptions. “Had a Muslim done something similar, dozens of youths would have been put behind bars for disturbing religious harmony, however authorities are only watching over the situation,” protestors said. Some JKLF members succeeded in evading the police and blocked the road in Lal Chowk. They were later dispersed by the police.
Soon after, MLA Langate Er Rashid staged a protest in the Press Enclave and marched towards the Clock Tower. Raising anti-RSS and anti-government slogans Rashid too was stopped by the police. “It is a well orchestrated conspiracy by right wing Hindu organisations to hurt the religious sentiments of the majority community in the state,” said Rashid.
“VHP, RSS, BJP are all playing a dangerous game against the majority community in Jammu division and people in the Valley will not remain mute spectators if their brethren are put in a dangerous situation,” Rashid told reporters before being bundled into a police van.
“We have complete solidarity with the Muslim community in Jammu division. The burning of any Islamic symbol is an attempt to create communal differences between two religious communities for petty political gains,” said protestors.
Meanwhile, Rajouri town remained under curfew on Wednesday as well following the uproar over the burning of a flag with the Islamic Kalima inscribed on it. Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists had burnt the flag claiming they were torching an ISIS flag, but resultant tensions forced authorities to impose curfew in Rajouri.
Wednesday was the second successive day of curfew in Rajouri town, even as police sources said no reports of any untoward incident were received. On Tuesday, the army had to be called in to carry out a flag march.
Pertinently, Deputy CM Nirmal Singh had explained away the incident by saying there was nothing wrong in burning the flag of a terrorist group while claiming those who burnt it were unaware of the fact that the flag bore Islamic inscriptions.